Today. And Always.

It seems like now everything has it’s day: National Doughnut Day. Left-Handers Day. Talk Like a Pirate Day. I get it. It creates awareness and builds community. But does having so many days take away from days with bigger meaning? Now don’t get me wrong. I’m left-handed. I love me some doughnuts. And I may, on occasion, talk like a pirate (OK, not really, but I find it funny when others do). I just wonder if “days” are the latest in the “everyone gets a ribbon at field day” mentality.

At the same time, who am I to judge? If it’s important to people, so be it. What actually gets to me is when these fun, playful days receive more coverage than days with bigger meaning. Days whose subjects are taboo.

You see, today’s my day. And the day for all of the moms, dads, grandparents, siblings, aunts, uncles, cousins and friends who have experienced the loss of a child through miscarriage, stillbirth and infant loss. Today is Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Day. It’s part of an awareness month, designated by Ronald Reagan back in 1988, where countless babies are acknowledged and remembered. Babies whose stories had been previously hushed because no one talks about baby loss. Because those same moms, dads, grandparents, siblings, aunts, uncles, cousins and friends have been told that they shouldn’t talk about it. Sadly, it is this mentality that has led many, like myself, to feel like we’re alone.

But you know what? We’re not alone. And you know what else? More and more of us are not afraid to talk about it, and write about it. More and more of us are raising awareness every day. We’re helping one another by letting each other, and the world, know it’s not only OK to talk about, but we need to talk about it. And by doing so, we’re honoring the memory of our babies, and all babies gone too soon.

So tonight at 7pm, as we celebrate the 3rd anniversary of Will CarryOn, we’ll light our candles for the wave of light. But today, and everyday, we stand alongside all of the families who have lost their precious children.

For our Baby K, Sarah, Benjamin and the four we never met, we remember.

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The Replacement Child

Two weeks after we lost Sarah and Benjamin, we received a call that we were matched on the adoption front. Double A and I had mixed emotions at the time. Of course we were thrilled at the prospect of finally bringing a child home with us, but at the same time, we were still in such deep mourning, not to mention shock. Our heads were all over the place. On some levels it didn’t seem fair to the twins for us to explore this opportunity. And at the same time, our longing to parent our children made it clear that we needed to. On our way home from meeting the Mother, I remember telling Double A, if this works out, I certainly hope people don’t say to us, “See, everything worked out after all.” That adoption fell through, but the sentiment remained.

Baby Boy arrived some seven months later, and while no one said it outright, I got the sense that in the minds of some family and friends, that all was now well and right in the world. Fast forward to the Little Guy’s arrival, and the everything happens for a reason/doesn’t it all work out in the end thoughts were echoed time and time again.

For some reason, there’s this notion of the “Replacement Child” after loss. As if having another child erases all of the pain and suffering we, as bereaved parents, go through in losing a child(ren). As if having another child could make up for of the child you lost. These children are our family. They are the children we fell in love with the moment we discovered we were pregnant. Children for whom we had already developed hopes and dreams. Children we thought we’d be able to meet, watch grow, and build lives of their own. They are not replaceable.

The Replacement Child isn’t always a new child. I know of parents who already had living children at home before their loss being told, “at least you have another at home.” Really? Would someone say that to a sibling if their brother or sister died? Or to a child if one of their parents died? I don’t even think someone would say that to the parent of an older child who had passed. So why is it OK to say that to the parent of a child lost through miscarriage or stillbirth? Let me be clear, it is not OK to say this. Ever.

Today is the second anniversary of Sarah and Benjamin’s birth and passing. Two years later, and the wound feels just as fresh. The grief just as deep. And our love, and longing for them to be here alongside us remains just as strong. We are grateful for our boys we have at home, but they are not replacements. Just much welcomed additions.

Have you experience Replacement Child “Syndrome”? How have you dealt with it?